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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Forty-two years ago this month, we learned the answer to life, the universe and everything. Even if humorous sci-fi isn’t your thing, Douglas Adams’ work has permeated pop culture.

42 years later, how ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ has endured

The influence of the Hitchhiker’s Guide “is everywhere,” says Marcus O’Dair, author of The Rough Guide to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“We can see it in culture, where Adams’ story is rumoured to have inspired everything from the band Level 42 to comedy show The Kumars at No. 42,” he says. “We can see it in tech: in the real-life ‘knife that toasts,’ for instance, or in-ear translation services reminiscent of the Babel fish. The most visible sign of its ubiquity, though, might be the fact that we can celebrate its anniversary not at 40 or 50 years but at 42 — and everyone knows why.”

This book let me know that there was a place for humorous absurdities in writing, and that it really doesn’t pay to take yourself too seriously.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an indispensable companion to all those who are keen to make sense of life in an infinitely complex and confusing Universe, for though it cannot hope to be useful or informative on all matters, it does at least make the reassuring claim, that where it is inaccurate it is at least definitively inaccurate. In cases of major discrepancy it’s always reality that’s got it wrong.

This was the gist of the notice. It said “The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Cake with bypass, made by me. To scale.

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My public service announcement for today: Good does not equal perfect. While they may be related, I’m pretty sure that Good is Cinderella and Perfect is the wicked stepmother. Just saying.

Here’s a Venn diagram for the visual learners out there.

It’s an idea I’ve discussed before but needed to hear again, and I thought you might too.

Go forth and be awesome!

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Photo by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash

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You know how sometimes you see a thing and it sets off little creative sparkles in your brain parts? Well, that’s what happened when I spotted this striking piece of art:

©Von Wong Production 2021 – http://www.TurnOffThePlasticTap.com

Giant “Faucet” Spewing Single-Use Plastic Urges Us To Reconsider Our Plastic Use

When I saw this my first thought (after “Ok, that’s insanely cool”) was “How can I do that? 

Lucky me (and you, if you’re so inclined), the artist has not only created this installation* but turned it into an interactive opportunity. Just as I was visualizing the steps needed to trim a tap like that and build a fountain of plastics, I spotted this:

If you are an artist or creative that would like to participate, join us in creating a remix of the Giant Plastic Tap

— This three story tall giant art installation is leaking plastics into different environments – Von Wong Blog 

Don’t mind if I do! If you want to join the fun, all files needed to remix your very own giant plastic tap are available here:

Remix the Giant Plastic Tap – Photoshop Challenge! – Dropbox Paper

Check out this post for more details on usage.

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I’m practicing new photo processing techniques and thought this was a good place to start. Lots to learn (ugh, lighting and color balance! I was in a hurry, but still) and this challenge is a great way to do it.

Tap image ©Von Wong Production 2021 – http://www.TurnOffThePlasticTap.com, Photos by Jordan RowlandJeff Finley on Unsplash
Tap images ©Von Wong Production 2021 – http://www.TurnOffThePlasticTap.com, Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

* Von Wong’s mind-bending original project was sponsored by the Embassy of Canada in France. Because Canadians are awesome. Every single one!

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I spotted this article the other day:

What I Learned About My Writing By Seeing Only The Punctuation

Hmm, I said, “That’s interesting in an upside-down sort of a way. I wonder what my writing looks like without, you know, words?”

My first thought was that I probably use too many commas. I headed over to the site developed by the article’s author and lo! I was right.

Punctuation from “Just Like [Illegible] Used to Make,” about 5400 words.

My second thought was to see how that story compared to other authors’ work. I visited Project Gutenberg and evaluated first chapters from a selection of famous and/or cherished books. 

Now that was interesting, both for the differences in punctuation and for the variety and length of chapters. (Nineteenth-century authors also loved commas, it seems. Is it time to hang up my keyboard and pick up a quill?)

This approach certainly provides a new perspective on the building blocks underpinning different authors, eras and genres of writing. Will it help my writing? Maybe, maybe not, but it was fun.

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Photo by Nitty Ditty on Unsplash

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I’m bouncing from project to project again, doing some work work and some practice work. I’ve also started about half a dozen posts but nothing feels right, because none of them said what I was really thinking, which is that today I am the Queen of Meh.

This is not to say that things are not a-ok, I’d just prefer to be making more progress.

Mood: pretty groovy, thanks for asking.

Fine, let’s roll with it.

I did nothing amazing today but do things I did. The project I had the most fun with was practicing photo compositing. Here’s a chimera that is not very good but I like anyway: Behold, the Winged Buffabear!

Original photos by Steven Cordes and Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash,
daguerreotype overlay from Spoon Graphics

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I think I’ll try to follow this advice by Christine Carter, and my own, and aim low:

The 1-minute secret to forming a new habit

Here’s why we need to be willing to be bad: being good requires that our effort and our motivation be in proportion to each other. The harder something is for us to do, the more motivation we need to do that thing. And you might have noticed, but motivation isn’t something that we can always muster on command….

The goal, remember, is repetition, not high achievement. So let yourself be mediocre at whatever you’re trying to do, but be mediocre every day. 

— Christine Carter

That I can do!

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Look at all those minutes!
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

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“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke

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Photo by Lê Tân on Unsplash

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A long-time family friend always says goodbye by saying “Be good!” My father always answers the same way: “Have fun!”

You can see which side Samuel Clemens occupied.

“Be good + you will be lonesome. Mark Twain” British Library digitised image from page 10 of “Following the Equator. A journey around the world [With a portrait.]”

I at least try to split the difference.

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You know those days when hoped-for sun never arrives and the design project that should have taken half an hour takes three and the pears you thought would be perfect in a fruit torte are rock hard and the bananas you need today aren’t anywhere near ripe, even after you bake them in a 300F oven for an hour?

It’s that kind of day.

So, ok, not great. But then I came up with not one but two solutions to the design issue and turned the pears into slow-cooked lemon, cinnamon and cardamom pear butter and made blueberry Grand Marnier tortes and I can work around the banana problem, I probably didn’t need the extra sugar anyway.

And you know what? It’s fine if the sun doesn’t come out today.

I’m shining on the inside.

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Photo by Johnny Briggs on Unsplash

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The good news is that there is a lot of up and coming fiction addressing issues of climate, change, and the environment. (The bad news is that we need it.)

Grist/Fix: Solutions Lab has a new climate fiction issue out, with discussions about the role of fiction in fixing reality and a dozen new stories from their “Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors” short story contest to get us started.

The Climate Fiction Issue: How fiction can change our reality | Fix

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I vote for this as one of the feel-good stories of the year. Because what’s happier than real-life hobbits?

‘What is this if not magic?’ The Italian man living as a hobbit

“I decided that I wanted to live my hobbit life to the fullest… I wanted people to enter my mind, my fantasy. Many make fun of us. Some think I am trying to escape from reality. Far from it. I am living my dream, my adventure.”

— Nicolas Gentile, hobbit

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Good for you, Italian hobbit man, good for you.

Photo by Andres Iga on Unsplash

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